Unsettling Conversations at Waterloo

Monday, March 5, 2018

In the wake of recent acquittals in the murders of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine and the ensuing national discussions, a diverse group of faculty members in Arts and at the the university-colleges are opening their classrooms or hosting teach-ins and conversations during the week of March 5.

Diagram detailing the parts of a wampus belt, including the Seneca, the Cayuga, the Onondaga (in the centre), the Oneida and the Mohawk

The goal of these open sessions is to talk about the ways in which structural racism exists and supports systemic and interpersonal violence toward Indigenous people. All are welcome at the events, whether you have experience with the ideas or are simply curious about what different disciplinary or interdisciplinary lenses bring to the table.

(Image source)

From the organizers:

"As researchers and teachers, we are exploring how we think and feel about these trials and the connections between them, our research, and our presence as settlers/guests on the Haldimand Tract. We are putting together a series of events not because we share a unified vision of what needs to be done, or a political position, but rather to initiate a culture of robust, respectful and uncomfortable conversation around indigenous-settler relations among non-indigenous peoples. We hope that this will expand the space available for facilitating the exchange of experiences, challenges, and questions as we address the complexity of socially relevant issues in education."

Some of the topics we invite everyone to consider include:

  • Where does racism come from historically, and how is it maintained presently, in the very fabric of what is currently called Canada?
  • What is settler privilege and power, and how does it contribute to ongoing genocide?
  • How does land ownership operate in the production of a nation, and what other ways are there to think about land?


Monday, March 5, 2018: “Settler (In)justice: A Conversation about Land”

Location & time: Hagey Hall Hub second floor “Treehouse” room*, 11:30 am -12:50 pm

Open Classroom for PACS 301 - Settler Colonial Violence, with Narendran Kumarakulasingam (Peace and Conflict Studies) and guest Craig Fortier (Social Development Studies)

How and why are indigenous bodies continually targeted for elimination in Canada? What is our connection here at the university with the killings of Colten Boushie, Tina Fontaine and myriad others? You are invited to join PACS 301 for a conversation about land, bodies and (in)justice.

*Accessibility note: “Treehouse” is at the top of the first flight of stairs on the left. Hagey Hub elevator does NOT work. Working elevator is in old Hagey wing next to the Hub.

Monday, March 5, 2018: “Settler Family Stories on Indigenous Land in Waterloo” 

Location & time:  Brubacher House, 6:00 pm

Open Classroom for History 247 - Mennonite History, with Marlene Epp (History/Peace and Conflict Studies)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018: "Sheila Cote-Meek’s Colonized Classrooms"

Location & time: Room ML 349, 11:30 am -12:50 pm

Open Classroom for  Phil 371 / WS 365 - Philosophy of Race, with Shannon Dea (Philosophy); discussing Chapter 1 of Sheila Cote-Meek’s Colonized Classrooms.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018: “Rhetoric of Nation Building: Archive, Media, and Discourses of Race”

Location & time: Room PAS 2438, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Presentation and discussion with Sorouja Moll (Drama and Speech Communication)

Friday, March 9, 2018: Three presentations and discussion

Location & time: Room PAS 2438, Noon - 1:30 pm

  • Trevor Holmes (Women’s Studies), “Settler and Indigenous figures in the narrative production of Algonquin Park as Crown Land” 
  • Reina Neufeldt (Peace and Conflict Studies), “‘Off my land?’ A story of fear, loss and trying to find a new way forward from Stoney Knoll, Saskatchewan”
  • Frankie Condon, (English), “Rhetorical listening and the decentering of settler dys-consciousness”